Collaboration, Not Competition: A Winning Small Business Strategy
There is this lady in the city I live in who has a similar business to mine – she is a blogging expert; I am a PR expert. Our target audience is similar. We have identical backgrounds. We were both journalists. Both love storytelling.
She runs workshops. So do I. She does public speaking. So do I. She has an online course. So do I. She writes for Smallville. So do I. You could say we fish in the same pond using similar bait. It would be really easy to see her as my competitor. My rival. Even my business nemesis stealing my prospective clients. But I don’t.
Instead we have become great friends (she is my sister from another mister). I admire, respect and think she is just amazing and revel in her growth and achievements. Instead of seeing her as competition, we have teamed up to collaborate on a number of projects.
We run joint workshops together. We are planning a weekend retreat together. We do webinars together. We help each other out at each other’s events. We promote each other. We are now sharing clients. If there is something we cannot do together, I refer the work on to her and vice a versa. I promote her workshops and all the things she does and she does the same for me. It is a win-win.
And that is what business should be – a win-win; working together where you can and supporting each other in this crazy, exciting journey that is Small Business and entrepreneurship.
Here are few things that have come from collaborating rather than competing:
Leveraging our database
Since we share a similar business bestie, we pool our database – promoting each other’s services and products through our marketing platforms. The awesome thing about leverage is using something to maximum advantage. By sharing our database, our networks and our audience on social media between the two of use, we have a greater reach.
Share the costs
Running workshops together – we share the cost of venues, which means less of an impact on our respective bank accounts. Collaborating also means we share the cost of promoting events and workshops by going halves in Facebook ads and other marketing we do to get bums on seats. This also means we share the profits because by having two of us working on promoting the same event/product/service, we have the opportunity to make more.
Pool our knowledge
Even though we have had similar careers, our knowledge base is diverse. We were both print journalists but worked in different parts of the media so have experiences and skills that differ. Our life paths are not the same so we can tap into our individual experiences. Our businesses tap into different marketing streams, our products and services are enhanced by those differences.
Value added services
At our last workshop together, we offered our attendees a two for one package – our online programs for the price of one – together the two programs provide a double whammy of knowledge to promote their businesses across a broader spectrum than just blogging or just doing PR.
A running mate
The best thing – I have someone to bounce off. Someone I trust. Someone I know is in my corner. I ring her to run ideas past her and she does the same to me. So despite the fact we run separate businesses, we still do our own events and work for our own clients, we have each other’s backs.
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